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The Journal Gazette

  • Left: Smith; Right: Tippmann Sr.

  • Tippmann Sr.

  • Jaylon Smith

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 1:00 am

NFL star from city to receive Red Coat

Local business leader also tapped for honor

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Jaylon Smith and John Tippmann Sr. balance what they do for a living – one of them as an NFL player and the other as chairman of three companies employing about 1,300 people – with their various philanthropic efforts.

It may not be an easy task juggling all of that, especially when they could just take a paycheck and call it a day.

For their efforts, Smith and Tippmann are being honored with one of Fort Wayne most hallowed awards; they will receive Red Coats from the Mad Anthonys, an organization of business leaders and professionals that has been here since 1957.

They will put on their new attire at a private dinner June 14 at Fort Wayne Country Club, where the Mad Anthonys Charity Classic golf tournament will take place the following day to raise money for Mad Anthonys Children's Hope House.

“If there's a word that ties Jaylon and John together, it's 'commitment,'” Mad Anthonys President Mike Wallace said. “As a hugely successful entrepreneur and servant leader, John's commitment to his faith, family, generosity and business is unparalleled.

“From Bishop Luers High School to Notre Dame to Dallas Cowboys, Jaylon has achieved what many dream about. What makes Jaylon unique is his desire to give back to Fort Wayne. We are thrilled to recognize them both as this year's Red Coat recipients.”

The list of past recipients is littered with people from sports, entertainment, politics, local business and philanthropy, including last year's winners: Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly and businessman Doug McKibben. Peyton Manning, Neil Armstrong, John Wooden, Bob Knight and Gene Keady are also among past winners.

Smith, a linebacker, was a second-round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2016, following a career at Notre Dame that saw him win the starting job as a freshman and go on to win the Butkus Award as college football's top linebacker.

However, torn knee ligaments in his final college game – the Fiesta Bowl – cost him a chance at being the first overall pick in the draft and meant he'd miss the entire 2016 season.

With his brother, Rod, also playing for the Cowboys as a running back, Jaylon Smith became one of the NFL's top linebackers and has won the Dallas Cowboys' Ed Block Courage Award for “inspiration, sportsmanship and courage.”

Off the field, his Clear Eye View Charitable Fund provides funding to his Minority Entrepreneurship Institute, which focuses on supporting minority entrepreneurship to close the economic and educational gap for minorities through resources, education and accessibility. Smith has also partnered with organizations battling childhood obesity.

On Tuesday, he announced he was becoming an equity partner in iCRYO Cryotherapy, a U.S.-based franchised company.

“It's an absolute honor to stand alongside John and join an amazing family of Red Coat recipients,” Smith said. “Just as importantly, I'm excited to help support the Mad Anthonys Children's Foundation in raising money for the Children's Hope House and the services they provide families throughout our region.”

Tippmann, who was born and raised in Fort Wayne, is the founder and chairman of the Tippmann Group, which is composed of three companies that generate more than $300 million in annual revenue: Interstate Warehousing, Tippmann Construction and Tippmann Properties.

Tippmann has given back to the community through organizations like Vincent Village, Matthew 25 Health & Dental Clinic and the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation. He also is founder and chairman of the Mary Cross Tippmann Foundation, which supports area charitable organizations.

“It is awe-inspiring to be named a Red Coat recipient and join such a distinguished list of past honorees,” Tippmann said. “For me, providing resources for those individuals and organizations in need is what I know best. The blessings of business success simply strengthen my ability to give back.”

The Children's Hope House provides lodging and support services for the families of children undergoing pediatric and neonatal treatment.

Last year, the Mad Anthonys presented $125,000 to the Hope House, bringing the total raised through the Red Coat dinner and golf classic to nearly $2.5 million.

jcohn@jg.net